TWO SIDES OF THE COIN
HAMAS – Hamas, founded in 1987 as a typical Islamic organization, one of many that emerged in the Middle East in the period after the Islamic revolution in 01/1979 in Iran and the war in Afghanistan in the 80s’. Hamas is now ruling Gaza Strip –forming HamasTAN . Its leadership in the average age of 55 - all were small children in 1967 and their memory and personal experience was shaped by the struggle with Israel and the time they spend in Israeli prison. The leadership, by large, is considered to be streight, humble, popular and sticking to the basic principles of Islam. The Hamas is running for many years, in all the Palestinian territories, a large scale welfare system and the only one, funded by Muslim charity organizations. In 01/25/2006, in the first free elections in the Palestinian Authority, Hamas won more then 50% of the votes.
In HamasTAN Hamas is facing some armed opposition in restoring order:
The Popular Resistance Committees – a bunch of Bedouin tribes in the south of Gaza Strip that make their living, for decades, by smuggling goods through the Egyptian border and made, in the last years, a fortune in controlling the arms snuggling through the tunnels in Rafah to both sides: Hamas and Fatah and fears the future of their monopoly.
The Army of Islam, in fact the Durmush clan in Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City, that served as a operational contractor for Hamas and made their fortune in kidnapping who ever is available – foreign aid workers, journalists like Alan Johnston, the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and people of means from rival groups. The Islamic Army control few hundreds well armed men.
It is most likely that these two groups will embitter the Hamas regime’s life until they will find a suitable “economical” solution to their demands.
Although the Hamas is boycotted by large parts of the international community they can rely on Iranian support, contributions from Islamic charity organizations in the world and human aid to prevent hunger and humanitarian disaster in Gaza strip.
Hamas will, probably, keep the border with Israel quiet to avoid any excuse from Israel to cut the chain of supply to Gaza from water and electricity up to basic food.
Fatah – Fatah was founded in Cairo in 1958 as a typical National Liberation movement, one of many that emerged all over the world in the post World War II Socialist political atmosphere. Fatah is now ruling the West Bank – Fatahland. Fatah has a leadership in the average age of over 70. All grew up outside the Palestinian territories. They were, many years ago. terrorists/freedom fighters but accustomed themselves over the past 30 years to the luxury of the Western World on the expense of the PLO and Yasser Arafat. The first friction of Fatah leadership with the real life in the Palestinian territory was in 1994 in the implementation of Oslo accords. They all have a reputation of being very corrupted and as those who exploit the Palestinian economy for their own wealth and teasing the common poor Palestinians with expensive luxury cars, palaces and designer suits. In 01/25/2006, in the first free elections in the Palestinian Authority, Fatah won less then 35% of the votes.
In the West Bank Fatah has a strong, well organized Hamas opposition. The Fatah infrastructure is infiltrated by an unknown number of Hamas supporters (see – IRANIAN TACTICS). The Al-Aqsa martyrs Brigade, supposed to be the military wing of Fatah, is a coalition of groups with many bosses, each one with his own agenda and some of them funded directly by Iran or Hizbullah. It is most likely that these groups will cooperate with Fatah regime only if a suitable “economical” solution to their demands will be found.
The Fatah regime can rely on large international support, although some of the money will end in private pockets. It can not rely on the consolidation and determination of the Fatah supporters .
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